How Do You Overcome Overthinking?

Have you ever met someone very competent, intelligent, and talented, but they get stuck in analysis paralysis and indecision?

Overthinking and getting lost in limitless options reduces intelligence and effectiveness by producing inaction. Taking any form of action is better than taking no action, but we get so caught up trying to find the perfect decision, so we end up not making any decisions at all. 

The answer to this is to cut through the overthinking and indecision with action.


Before I get into how to do that, let's look at what's going on in the minds of those people. 

The Trap Of Overthinking

For an individual that struggles to see a lot of possibilities, the choice can be easy as you will choose the option that looks most obvious.

For those with an abundance of intelligence, there are far more doors available - choosing can seem impossible. This person then creates a decision tree in their mind "if I choose this, this would be my outcome" then, you need to decide if you want that outcome, which then leads to three or four more possibilities. 

This individual may even start researching the options. It becomes an endless cycle of thinking through multiple options, and through researching those options, it leads to even more possibilities. Leading that person not to make any decisions at all. 

It is virtually impossible to research all possibilities as each outcome has a certain level of uncertainty attached to it. You will never know for sure how those possibilities will turn out or what the probability of that possibility occurring is.  

The uncertainty of our mind thinking through these possibilities is what keeps us in indecision. We will fear the uncertain outcome, and would rather have cold hard data with far more certainty. 

But we can't always have the certainty that we want, endless experiments and investigations would need to be made which have already established do not make the decision making any easier. 

How do we overcome this? By cutting through the overthinking with action.

"Cutting Through" With Action

There is no solving overthinking with additional thinking - thinking gets us into it. Now I am NOT saying thinking is terrible; I do believe we should contemplate the pros and cons, then we should take a step back from the action and get some perspective, try to see the bigger picture and consider the deeper meaning of why we are doing what we are doing. But at some point, we do have to put a cap on the thinking and then start taking action!

If you set a limit on how much contemplating you do on specific topics, this could be an excellent way to limit and eventually irradicate overthinking. 

How do you decide when there is no absolute answer?

You have to choose something that is best, even though you have limited information. Similar to poker - you never have complete information, you have to make a decision based on what you do know and the possible outcomes. 

Start by taking a step back and think about the deeper why as this relates to the decision and what you're basing this decision on. Is it based on fear or desire? These don't tend to lead to an excellent long - term outcome, in my experience. You want to come from a long - term benefit - is this a loving action towards yourself or your loved ones? 

Then you need to think about the factors that weigh into the decision and how important it is to you. Think about likely outcomes ( don't limit yourself to just two possibilities ) and consider the probable benefits and costs. 

Finally, go with the decision that seems the best. Quickly review whether this is the best long - term and then pull the trigger! 

By doing this, you cut through all the fears and doubts that hold you back, and you get straight down to business!

You can get good at doing this by doing small things such as: 

  • Decluttering one thing that is easy for you to make a decision on, rather than getting stuck on things that are difficult for you to decide on. 

  • Take small actions to be healthier. 

  • Take small actions towards your dreams or long - term goals. 

What decisions are you stuck on? Can you do something small to make deciding easier for you? These small actions can help you get a bigger picture. This will benefit you as you're practicing taking action without getting caught up in indecision. 


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